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what's the best way to keep hungry varmints away from my chickens?

We have a new flock of Buff-Orpingtons that we got as chicks last fall- they're roosting in the greenhouse and range in an enclosure during the day that is surrounded by an electric fence. I'm concerned that as the weather warms and the resident coyote, skunk, fox, coon and possum population gets active we are exposing the gals to a potential chicken holocaust. Will the electric fence be enough? I've come to respect the ingenuity and perseverance of varmints. Input please!

Picture of what's the best way to keep hungry varmints away from my chickens?
rocketman203 years ago
If you leave a radio on over night it scares coons away
i had trouble with racoons last year with my chickens / i used a lot of human urine it worked an also i have a radio on in the roose/lights so im hopeing if that don't work i've got 2 traps
Bert992 years ago
leave a light on out there... make a trap...
qparker4 years ago
shoot/kill the varmint
Mirime qparker3 years ago
yep a remington pill works wonders on coons and their little friends
doitnstyle14 years ago
I live in a varmint rich environment and own chickens. there are several layers of protection you can use.
   I first started by using a 10 ft high heavy guage goat fence which has larger holes of wire. I buried it 1 foot down. I added chicken wire around the outside to close up the large holes. I then took three sections of the goat wire and cut the cross wire off leaving a abunch of pointy wires aiming down. This is called a fox pin. Before you bury the fence you push the fox pin points into the ground alongside the tall fence and wire them together. so you now have three layers of wire about to be buried underground. If you like you can stretch chicken wire around the coop fence laying flat too. To top it off (literally) i use chicken wire over the top of the entire enclosure to keep raptors (Hawks, Falcons etc.) from being able to swoop down into the enclosure and make off with one of my birds.

   I have also set up a motion sensitive security light to turn on if predators come within a certain distance of the vcoop at night (since most predators are nocturnal). i have also wired a small alarm bought at a dollar store to the light to sound when it lights up. this is enough to startle even people sometimes coming near the coop.

I have not had a problem with predators since (knock on wood) 

I may provide an instructale on this if given time.
mman15065 years ago
electric fence will not hel much my cousins had a animal burry a tunnel uner the fence and then ate the chicken
Dr.Bill5 years ago
Ahhh...... The children are not the hungry varments I take it. I like the dog ring around the coop idea myself.
tulekah5 years ago
Have you got a dog? Friends of mine double walled their henhouse and let the dog into the ring around the hen pen.
Kryptonite5 years ago
I used to own chickens, and at night the pen we kept them in was amazingly good for keeping out foxes. It didn't have any amazing electronic siren IR laser heat detecting things, it just relied on a fox's thoughts. If you look at the picture below, it's a bird's eye view of our chicken pen. door one is where the chickens would come in, walk to the far end and go through the first dotted line. This was just chicken wire, with a hole for chickens to go through. they would keep walking clockwise until they got through to the chicken pen. Each dotted line is chicken wire with a hole cut big enough. That walk way through which they walk is covered with chicken wire, about 3 feet off the ground. If you can imagine this, it looks like a largish trap. A fox is cunning, he will think this is a trap too, and not go in.

We never had a fox get into that pen, no possums and no quols.

This is a pretty big project to build though, so if you don't like that idea then a llama / alpaca is amazing for warding of chicken stealing bandits.
Hope that helped! :D
chicken pen.bmp
K, I had to Google what a quols was, you must be from Australia because I never heard of em... (But I will go there one day, oh yes I will)
Quols are only in Tasmania, which is the most Southern state of Australia. We don't live there any more :(
jackbomber5 years ago
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/Natural-Livestock-Protectors.aspxI would suggest another hungry varmint working for the good guys. Or another animal to act as a
greenoakdoc5 years ago
Electric fence will probably not be enough. Chicken wire is a dependable staple; be sure that there is enough anchoring in the ground to keep out digging animals and that there is a top to the enclosure since owls and hawks will come from above. Netting works well as a roof and is customarily used in pheasant raising operations. Skunks don't climb well but raccoons are highly resourceful and can open things including door handles and the like. Foxes and coyotes can and will jump in/out if the sides of your enclosure aren't tall enough. Coyotes can clear 6 feet or better, with a jump/scramble over the top. Much of your predator problem will be nocturnal. If you don't want to lose sleep, be sure the chickens are cooped at night. They, and you, will rest easier.
atlantica5 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
sbparadis (author)  atlantica5 years ago
Oh yeah- someone told me about the donkey deterrent a while ago- I had forgotten the donkey option! Thanks!
NachoMahma5 years ago
. The electric fence should deter all but the largest predators - anything large dog-size or smaller - but, as you realize, critters can be very crafty and if there is a way to avoid the wire and get in, they will find it. . Shooting will put a definite halt to repeat offenders. Since that option is available, I'd use it. . I like lemonie's dog suggestion. An electric fence, a good alert dog, and a small rifle should make a good combination. Keep in mind that many dogs like the taste of chicken, too. Shouldn't be a problem with a well-trained dog, but be aware that dogs will kill and eat chickens. . For larger predators that make it past your defenses, a coop with an opening just big enough for your chickens should help minimize losses. . I don't know of any one method that will do the job, especially with such a wide variety of predators.
sbparadis (author)  NachoMahma5 years ago
thanks nachomahma- I think we'll have to bite the bullet and get another dog. The three we have are too old or dumb to sleep that far away from the house. They would end up coyote chow themselves. I don't do the gun thing, but my husband does- unfortunately I'm pretty sure he wants to sleep in the house too.
lemonie5 years ago
Can you shoot varmints? And my only suggestion would be a dog. I also acknowledge that predators can be ingenious and perseverent. L
sbparadis (author)  lemonie5 years ago
yep, you can shoot 'em, but they're not good eatin'. Although our varmints will probably taste like chicken.
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